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Child Poverty Monitor:
Progress towards a conceptual framework and data systems for measuring child vulnerability in South Africa

Judith Streak1

Child Poverty Monitor #2

IDASA, Children's Budget Unit

5 October 2005

SARPN acknowledges IDASA as the source of this document -
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Currently the data available on the situation of children in South Africa is insufficient for effective policy and programme design, budgeting and service delivery. Building a generally accepted framework for analysing and measuring child vulnerability and data systems to support it is a critical task confronting protection and fulfilment of child rights.

This Child Poverty Monitor is aimed at raising awareness about, and encouraging support for a recently developed and promising model for conceptualising and measuring child poverty in South Africa. The model has been developed by Michael Nobel, Gemma Wright and Lucy Cluver from the Centre for the Analysis of South African Social Policy at Oxford University under the leadership of Professor Andy Dawes, Director of the Child, Youth and Family Development (CYFD) Programme at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). The model offers for the first time, a child centred, multidimensional consensual and evidence based model for conceptualising and measuring child vulnerability and wellbeing in South Africa. The various domains of deprivation in the model and process proposed for developing the indicators for measurement are also informed by the prevailing child rights framework.

The model is still being fine-tuned. This process includes consultation with children as well as various experts on child vulnerability in South Africa to verify the deprivation domains, decide upon poverty definitions and develop practical child centred indicators. Many challenges still have to be overcome before the model can realise its potential to provide policy makers and programme implementers working on service delivery to vulnerable children with the data they need. In light of the critical role of more accurate and comprehensive data for providing children in need with the services they require and to which they are entitled, it is imperative that the fine tuning of the model proceeds quickly. Moreover that wide-spread support is forthcoming for piloting of the model and building the definitional and data systems required for wide spread implementation of the model.

The Child Poverty Monitor has four sections. Section 1 describes the context in which the model is put forward. Section 2 provides an overview of the model. Section 3 highlights the merits of the model which imply that if further developed, generally supported and implemented it has the potential to provide an organising framework for gathering data on and measuring child vulnerability and well being in South Africa. Section four flags the challenges confronting effective implementation of the model.

  1. Thank you to Shaamela Cassiem (CBU), Annie Leatt (Children’s Institute) and Professor Dawes (CYFD) for reviewing this document.

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